Look At This Gorgeous Rag Top Volvo C303


2016-01-06 07.30.00 (Small)

What you’re seeing here is a Volvo C303. Specifically the TGB 1111 model.

The c303 was a popular vehicle for offroad or rough use, predominantly in military settings. They weren’t exclusively military though, as some found use as emergency vehicles and privately owned toys. The TGB 1111 however, was intended for military use and was outfitted with a 90mm anti-tank gun.

The unit pictured above has been painstakingly restored by an ex helicopter pilot named Aaron.  He graciously agreed to share pictures as well as his story with this vehicle.

I started with the question that is probably the most obvious… where the heck did you get that?

Why: I’ve always wanted a 4×4 ever since I saw Back to the Future and that black truck. I purchased a 2001 Toyota Tacoma that had been done up by a 4×4 shop and was being used as their demo truck after being used as a personal 4×4 for the Arizona outback. It was a good truck, but it had been used, had a lot of miles and was starting to have issues with the installed goods. I also realized I just didn’t need a truck set up for long distance expeditions or over landing. I’ve also always had a love for military vehicles. I wanted a truck that was both an excellent offroad vehicle, something simple that I wouldn’t mind taking off road, would be realitively easy to fix (since it was simple) and was cool.

I was drawn to the TGB 1111 after finding videos of the C303 (hard top base model version) and their portal axles. The C303 family just can really offroad. They are great trucks. The TGB 1111 with it’s open top and fold down roll bars is just, to me, really cool. So I started doing more and more research, looking into buying one in the USA.

What I found was that there weren’t many of any type in the USA. Of what there were, most were the C303 hard top. There were a hand full of the TGB 1111’s around, but the ones for sale seemed in pretty rough shape. The nice ones weren’t for sale.

Then the dollar hit an all time high versus the Euro and I knew I could import one so I started searching for ones for sale in Europe, found a dealership in Denmark and was able to buy and import one that is in really good shape overall.

From the outside, this thing looks stunning. The forward seating position is great, and that snub nose can’t be beat.

Something like this is a never ending project. Even after everything is repaired, there’s the list of customizations to get to!

As far as my plans, I’m restoring it as much as possible and I plan to add a few small modifications like one small LED light bar, some radios (HAM and CB) and a winch under the front bumper (where it won’t block the windshields from being folded down). Other than that I am trying to minimize any changes. I changed the headlights out for LED’s and plan to do the same with the taillights. I want to fix the damage to the top cover, hit it with another couple coats of paint and then put all the decals back on. I’ll add a jerry can holder for the back where the fire extinguisher box was at one time and the missile ammo holder becomes offroad gear storage. I want it to look at stock as possible so no crazy colors or stickers.

I’ll take it into the woods with a local 4×4 group, go offroading, take some trips along the coast this summer into the Olympic National Forest and just enjoy it and it’s simplicity.


Aaron managed to get the manual with it as well!

The interior is packed with great stuff to look at. I guess Aaron is going to have to start learning dutch pretty quick.

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